Less is Probably not Enough

  • April 13, 2024

Ford has lowered the price of some F-150 Lightning trims – but not the base price, which holds steady at $54,995 (which is some $15k above what Ford initially said the base trim Lightning was going to cost). This is the version of the electric F-150 that comes with the standard battery pack and maybe 240 miles of range, if you drive it slowly (avoiding the highway) and don’t use the truck to haul or pull anything.

If it’s not cold outside. . .  .

If you drive it at highway speeds and use it to haul or pull anything, it won’t go nearly that far. Especially if it’s cold outside.

If you need the truck to be able to realistically take you 200 miles at a time, you’ll need the XLT trim with the longer range (320 miles) battery, which means paying for the XLT – which stickers for $62,995 after the just-announced $2,000 price reduction. That means it still costs $8,000 more than the base Pro trim. You can also get the Lariat trim for $2,500 less than it used to cost.

The problem is it still costs $76,995.

More finely put, the problem is that people who can afford to pay as much as this EV costs are probably not going to be induced to buy one by cutting the price by $2,000 or so. It is literally “chump change” at this price point. The difference in monthly payment between a pre-discount Lightning XLT ($64,995) and the just-discounted XLT ($62,995) amounts to the cost of a quarter pounder with cheese and a Coke.

Let’s run and compare some numbers to make the point. It would cost about $950 per month to finance the just-discounted Lightning XLT for six years at 5 percent interest and assuming $4,000 down. It would have cost about $966 to finance the same XLT at the pre-discounted price.

Is $16 less per month enough to sway people who weren’t interested in a Lightning last year to consider buying one this year?

Meanwhile Ford raised the price of the base Pro trim – the one with the 240 mile-range battery – by $5,000 back in January. And the price reductions on the XLT and Flash trim aren’t really, because the prices of those were also raised back in January – by more than Ford just lowered them last week.

So none of the Lightning trims cost less than they did a year ago – before Ford raised prices across the board. Think of it like the announcement in Orwell’s 1984 about the chocolate ration being increased when Winston knew perfectly well it had in fact been reduced.

Regardless, it’s probably meaningless – in terms of making any difference to the necessarily affluent buyers who are the only buyers in a position to buy a Lightning. For such people, $2,000 is a pittance.

It is certainly not persuasive.

And for those who aren’t affluent, a $2,000 or so discount is an irrelevance. It would perhaps make a difference if we were talking $2,000 off a $25,000 car – because the figure is substantial in relation to the cost of the car and would make a significant difference in the monthly payment – at that price point.

But $16 or so – more or less – makes no appreciable difference when we’re talking about a $62,000 truck, the cost of which is already well-beyond the means of those for whom $2k more (or less) would make any difference.

All the discount means is Ford will lose a little more money on each “sale.”

In order for Ford to make money on each sale, the base price of the Lightning – with the 240 mile range battery – would probably need to be raised to more than the price of the $76,995 Lariat. This might cover the cost of building the truck, with enough profit margin to make it worth building the truck.

So why doesn’t Ford do that?

Well, because then even fewer people could buy one – because there just aren’t that many people who can afford to spend $80k on a vehicle – never mind whether it’s battery powered.

So, instead, Ford continues to build a vehicle that costs money to sell. Why not figure out a way to build an EV that could be sold without Ford losing money on each sale?

Could it be because sales – in volume – of these devices is not what’s wanted?

And that brings up something almost never discussed when people discuss EVs. If there is an imminent existential crisis caused by the use of too many natural resources – and the consumption of too much power – then why are vehicles that gratuitously require two or three times as many natural resources (that make them so expensive most people will never be able to afford one) that also consume far more energy than is necessary to just get around being encouraged by government policy?

The answer is – there isn’t.

But there is a massive PR effort under way to convince the average person there is a “crisis” – in order to get him to accept being pushed out of owning a vehicle and driving it whenever he likes, as far as he likes. Just the same as the average person was convinced a “pandemic” was afoot.

During the “pandemic,” when the average person was locked-down and told he must not show his face in public, the people insisting there was a “pandemic” (and enforcing it) were enjoying themselves at expensive restaurants, without the “masks” on their faces that they insisted everyone else had to wear to enter a 7-11.

And now the average person is being told he must drive an EV he can’t afford that costs him his mobility – while the people pushing this business in the name of the “climate crisis” buy homes yards from the rising seas and jet to conferences in Switzerland. 

. . .

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